Movie of the Month

Each month I will post some of my favorite movies right here.


February:

"All the President's Men" 1976

In June 1972, a security guard, Frank Wills (playing himself) at the Watergate complex finds a door kept unlocked with tape. He calls the police, who find and arrest five burglars in the Democratic National Committee headquarters within the complex. The next morning, The Washington Post assigns new reporter Bob Woodward to the local courthouse to cover the story, which is thought to be of minor importance.


We know 
better...




January:

"Salesman" 1968

Four relentless door-to-door salesmen deal with constant rejection, homesickness and inevitable burnout as they go across the country selling very expensive bibles to low-income Catholic families.


Will this film make you a believer?

Uh-uh.
Will you get a few laughs out of it?

'Fraid not. 
Will it restore your faith in mankind?

Not likely.

Sum it up in two words:  Riveting - Bleak.

ENJOY!


"A Christmas Carol" 1951



I like Amazon's description of this movie:

This is the desert-island choice of the many versions of A Christmas Carol, with a magnificent, full-bodied portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge by Alastair Sim that leaves everyone else in the dust. Lean and direct, this film's version of the story wastes no time trying to impress viewers with the magical nature of the spirits' visitations.

And they're right!  There is no other version worth viewing in my opinion.  This is it, folks.

And steer clear of the colorized version if you'd like to maintain that Dickensian environment.


Also, keep an eye out for the Avengers' Patrick McNee who made his screen debut in this film as the young Jacob Marley.



November:

"Planes, Trains and Automobiles" 1987




 This is my favorite Thanksgiving movie of all time.  Does anyone know of any others?  Anyway, the short synopsis is…

Planes, Trains & Automobiles is a 1987 American comedy film written, produced and directed by John Hughes. The film stars Steve Martin as Neal Page, a high-strung marketing executive, who meets Del Griffith, played by John Candy, an eternally optimistic, overly talkative, and clumsy shower curtain ring salesman who seems to live in a world governed by a different set of rules. They share a three-day odyssey of misadventures trying to get Neal home to Chicago fromNew York City in time for Thanksgiving dinner with his family.




October:

"All That Heaven Allows" 1955

If you've never seen a movie directed by Douglas Sirk, PLEASE do yourself a favor and rent this film!  Mr. Sirk's films were the precursor to the modern day Soap Opera, but with a budget.  And they didn't save money on tears!  Rock Hudson at his manliest and Jane Wyman's greatest role (as far as I'm concerned).








September:

"Don't Knock the Rock" 1956



Alan Freed, Alan Dale, Little Richard, Bill Haley & his Comets... 

So what if it's a lousy movie!


Alan Dale stinks in this film!





There's a reason Alan Freed was on Radio.



But, when was the last time you saw Bill Haley perform?


Va Va Va Voom!



August:

"Signs" 2002



I am not a big Mel Gibson fan, though I do love some of his movies.  I love this movie.  It's a sci-fi thriller with a realistic take that explores faith, kinship and, of course, aliens.  Gibson plays a widower/minister who has lost his way, diety-wise and lives on an isolated farm with his two kids and younger, big-league-baseball-failure of a brother.


One day, they discover crop circles in their cornfield.  Creepy.  One thing leads to another and it's determined that this little family is in the midst of a worldwide alien invasion.


Make sure you board up all the windows.     Oops.


July:

"The Typewriter, the Rifle and the Movie Camera" 1996

Sam Fuller
In this documentary about Samuel Fuller, the we get a different impression about the Hollywood director and his films. The first segment covers Fuller's past as a newsman where he began as a copy boy and ended as a reporter. Part two describes Fuller's experiences in World War II, in which he participated as a soldier. The last section focuses on Fuller as director. Tim Robbins interviews Samuel Fuller revealing the director's own memories and impressions. Jim Jarmusch, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino appear with their comments.


June:

"Mon Oncle" 1958

The film centers on the socially awkward yet lovable character of Monsieur Hulot and his quixotic struggle with postwar France's infatuation with modern architecture, mechanical efficiency and consumerism. As with most Tati films, Mon Oncle is largely a visual comedy; color and lighting are employed to help tell the story. The dialogue in Mon Oncle is barely audible, and largely subordinated to the role of a sound effect. The drifting noises of heated arguments and idle banter complement other sounds and the physical movements of the characters, intensifying comedic effect. The complex soundtrack also uses music to characterize environments, including a lively musical theme that represents Hulot's world of comical inefficiency and freedom.


At its debut in 1958 in France, Mon Oncle was denounced by some critics for what they viewed as a reactionary or even poujadiste (Huh?) view of an emerging French consumer society, which had lately embraced a new wave of industrial modernization and a more rigid social structure.  However, this critique soon gave way in the face of the film's huge popularity in France and abroad – even in the U.S., where rampant discretionary consumption and a recession had caused those on both the right and the left to question the economic and social values of the era.  The film was another big success for Tati as with a total of 4,576,928 admissions in France.


May:

"La Dolce Vita" 1960


If there's only one movie you see from my list, make it this one, please...


La Dolce Vita (Italian pronunciation: [la ˈdoltʃe ˈviːta]Italian for "the sweet life" or "the good life") is a 1960 comedy-drama film written and directed by the critically acclaimed director Federico Fellini.


The film is a story of a passive journalist's week in Rome, and his search for both happiness and love that will never come. La Dolce Vita won the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival and the Oscar for Best Costumes.



April:

"The Artist" 2011





March:

"A Face In the Crowd" 1957

Andy ain't in Mayberry in this one.  Bud Schulberg wrote the screenplay.  By the way, if you've never read "What Makes Sammy Run", you should.  Particularly if you like this movie.  Here's the trailer...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008QCPGNA/ref=atv_feed_catalog?tag=imdb-amazonvideo-20



February:

"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" 1963

This movie has been making me laugh since I was a kid.  Just a little trivia:


"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" was the very first film premiered at the Cinerama-dome when it opened in 1963.

The Cineramadome remains today, one of my favorite venues to experience a movie in.

If you have a trip to L.A. planned this summer, make sure to see a movie in this theater.  The best.  And they have a bar in the lobby, so get there early!


All it takes is seeing a still from the movie and I crack up.  Now this is one of those films you either love or hate.  But there is no middle ground.  It always cheers me up.  I always love watching it.  And the cast is amazing (if you're my age, anyway).

Unfortunately, I've heard the widow of Stanley Kramer, who directed the original, is making a sequel.

According to iMDB, the short story is this:

After a long prison sentence Smiler Grogan (Jimmy Durante) is heading at high speed to a California park where he hid $350,000 from a job 15 years previously. He accidentally careens over a cliff in view of four cars whose occupants go down to help. The dying Grogan gives details of where the money is buried and when the witnesses fail to agree on sharing the cash, a crazy chase develops across the state.

See the trailer here:


http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/16874/It-s-a-Mad-Mad-Mad-Mad-World-Original-Trailer-.html

January:

"The Sweet Smell of Success" 1957



Man, Is this a good one!

Visit the Wikipedia entry for this film:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_Smell_of_Success

Rumors have it that Burt Lancaster's role was based on Walter Winchell.  But I've also heard that it was Ed Sullivan's early career as a press agent that fed the part.  An incredible pastiche of 1950s New York City and its denizens of the Broadway deep.



December:

"A Christmas Carol" 1951




I like Amazon's description of this movie:

This is the desert-island choice of the many versions of A Christmas Carol, with a magnificent, full-bodied portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge by Alastair Sim that leaves everyone else in the dust. Lean and direct, this film's version of the story wastes no time trying to impress viewers with the magical nature of the spirits' visitations.

And they're right!  There is no other version worth viewing in my opinion.  This is it, folks.

And steer clear of the colorized version if you'd like to maintain that Dickensian environment.


Also, keep an eye out for the Avengers' Patrick McNee who made his screen debut in this film as the young Jacob Marley.

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